Zera to beat SADC lightbulbs deadline

By Staff reporter | 18 Mar 2019 at 09:35hrs
THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) says the country is well on course to meet the year-end deadline of eliminating trading and use of the incandescent light bulbs set by the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).

Member states in the regional body embraced the decision in 2015 with the aim of saving power, reducing expenditure and adhering to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This was also in an effort to fulfil the African Union's call to manageable use of energy as enshrined in Agenda 2023. Zera is certain that it will beat the December 31 deadline, with the energy regulator confirming it has done a lot of in-depth engagements with stakeholders on the use of lighting bulbs.

The traditional incandescent bulbs were banned in the country in May 2017 after Government approved Statutory Instrument 21 of 2016 paving way for the use of the Light Emitting Diodes (LED), which experts say are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.  

According to Zera, replacing the conventional light bulb with efficient ones would result in significant financial benefits for the country. In an interview, Zera's alternative energy expert Engineer Tobias Mudzingwa said the country has pulled all strings to make sure it meets the Sadc deadline.

"Zera is confident that by the end of the year the whole country would have switched on to LED lighting. Every business and home will no longer be using the inefficient, power consuming incandescent bulbs. We are working around the clock to make sure that people understand the benefits of using the LED lights. LEDs can save up to 40 megawatts," he said.

"On average the lights give 15kilowatt hours of energy per year when switched on for eight hours daily. On the other hand, incandescent bulbs use up to 130 KW hours.  

"Apart from saving energy, LEDs conserve the environment, which is why as Zera we are helping the country manage its energy resource and help the region beat its deadline. It is within our mandate to see that Zimbabwe takes the lead in flushing out the incandescent bulbs."

The energy regulator is on a nationwide campaign to encourage the use of LEDs, with the latest meetings done in outlying districts of Matabeleland North.

Eng Mudzingwa said Zera was consulting shops that deal in lighting products, councils and industry in a bid to create understanding as the country adapts to smarter ways of using energy.

There are electric products shops and manufacturers in Harare and Bulawayo that were raided in 2018 as Zera intensified a crackdown on the sale of fake energy saving bulbs and the illegal trade on the banned incandescent lamps.  

"The idea is make every stakeholder understand that our energy sources are depleting and as such we have to move on to smarter ways of harnessing the resource," he said. The banning of incandescent light bulbs is expected to ease the country's electricity demand.



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